"Oh My G _ _ " Why? Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Touchy, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 19, 2007 at 8:12 pm
It seems that for almost everyone, the above phrase is just everyday vocabulary. We hear it all the time and read it in popular literature. Profanity is now just plain acceptable to most, but not to me. I am afraid that I do not like to hear it and I do not want it spoken in the earshot of my family. Now, before any of you start calling me too sensitive (which maybe I am), how would you feel if I started saying "Oh my Allah", or "Oh my Buddha" in all sorts of situations and even teaching my children (through my usage) that this was acceptable? I doubt if we could get away with it. This double standard is pretty unfair. I would just like to see us all using much less profanity.
Posted by Gern Blanston, a resident of Menlo Park, on Aug 20, 2007 at 11:40 am
Profane? No, not at all. The original post is either a lame troll or bespeaks considerable ignorance on the part of its author (that "God" is profane and is only the Christian god). It's misguided folk such as Touchy that we have to thank for, among other things, our current President.
Posted by Newt, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm
If "Oh my God" is now considered profanity, God help us (no sarcasm implied). Honestly, what's next? Banning comic/parody images of Jesus/God/Abraham? I think our society has a lot more important things to worry about than such a harmless phrase.
Posted by Yes, it is profane to some of us but..., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2007 at 5:35 pm
To those who don't understand...using the name of God without purpose is considered profanity to those who are believers. ( Comes from one of those commandments about "Thou shalt not take the name of Thy Lord, God, in vain" or whatever translation you want to use..and using it as a form of "darn" or "shucks" with no thought of actually talking to or about the entity in question is definitely "in vain")
That said, I can no more stop anyone from saying God in vain than anyone can stop me from saying Allah in vain, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
However, I DO try to be sensitive to the the people around me and their backgrounds and religions.
Posted by Newt, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2007 at 9:27 pm
1) If your belief and confidence in your religion is so weak that seeing God spelled lower-case hurts, I think you have bigger issues to deal with.
2. "Thou shalt not take the name of They Lord, God, in vain" means not swearing in God's name that something is true, if you know it isn't. IE don't lie and swear it's true by God's name. Nowadays, it seems that the people the invoke the name of God in a religious sense are often the ones that we need to worry about most, not people who casually use it.
Posted by Godless, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2007 at 9:34 pm
I recall that as a child we were not allowed to say God and had to write it G-d, so as not to take the name in vain. I used to wonder what would happen to me if I said or wrote the word.
Nowadays teenagers use OMG! to express surprise or dismay. I also like to use OMG! it is an amusing shorthand exclamation.
Religions are very clever about thought control, and making it difficult for people even to think outside the small box. Is you can't even say the word God, how could you ever think that the whole thing is a sham? Try saying the word 10 or 50 times. You will observe that nothing happens to you.
Posted by Touchy, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2007 at 9:51 pm
The dictionary definition of profanity is showing contempt of sacred things, (esp. of language). I think that this is what we have here.
I would not dream of making a mockery of others' religions. I think most people using the phrase do not realise that this is what they are doing. I also feel that hearing children saying things like this is wrong because they are saying things which they do not understand. Likewise if they used any bad language, they only use what they hear.
I think there are some interesting points here and I do realise that what is acceptable to some, may not be to others.
Posted by Puzzled, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 21, 2007 at 7:46 am
"Other's religion" - Touchy aren't you assuming the word "God" means only the Christian God?
If you travel to the other parts of the world, where English is not the primary language, you will see that people refer to the Christian God using the same word that refers to the god in the local language/religion !
So is your issue here, using the word "god" across the board - or is your issue here using the word "god" to mean the Christian god and hence taking it as a profanity against the religion .. if it is the second, then god help you :)
"The words God and Lord (Adonai) are often written by many Jews as G-d and L-rd as a way of avoiding writing a name of God, as to avoid the risk of the sin of erasing or defacing the name. Any Hebrew name of God is forbidden to be erased. In Deuteronomy 12:3-4, the Torah exhorts one to destroy idolatry, and from here it is understood not to erase the name of God. However, since this is in English, it is often considered unnecessary since only the Hebrew name is considered God's actual name, but since God is God's name in English, it is often done out of a sign of respect and just an extra precaution. There is a dispute to the degree of holiness that the word "God" is. The common rabbinic opinion on whether this applies only to Hebrew names of God—or to the English word "God" as well—is that "God" written in any language other than Hebrew has no holiness and can be erased. So while considered unnecessary, it is still often written with a hyphen as to give the Name proper respect. It is considered necessary by some, a minhag (custom) by most, and not done at all by others. Most Orthodox Jews and many Jews in general will write G-d in this manner. The Orthodox Jewish information website, Aish.com, uses God instead of G-d. They cite the reason that many users coming to the Aish HaTorah website are unfamilar with Judaism and would be initially unfamilar with the spelling G-d, so since it is not required that G-d is written, only preferred, they do not do it. According to their website, spelling it G-d is not according to halacha (Jewish law), so according to "leading Torah scholars", non-Hebrew names can be erased. Other Jewish websites, such as Chabad.org, spell it G-d, and this is the version commonly found on most Jewish publications."
Posted by eric, a resident of Mountain View, on Aug 21, 2007 at 2:49 pm
The same people that will use (erroneously in the opinion of many scholars on the subject) the Commandment arguement here will also put an American flag in a position of iconoclastic semi-worship-- is that not breaking a commandment? Then, they'll put that same American flag on their jockey shorts or beer can-- is that showing respect for their Country?
Posted by Godless, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Aug 21, 2007 at 3:40 pm
One of the mind opening events in my youth was reading Samuel Hayakawa's early work I think it was Language in Action in which he asserted that words are not things.
It is one of those astonishing insights that can lighten the unbearable load of guilt placed on the backs of religious people. How many children have worried that they will be punished because they erased the word god. And do they get leniency because it was an accident.
So much thought and energy to such not-sense. Such a waste of good brainpower
parsing out meaningless abstractions-- in all religions, not just one.